|Publication number||US7303297 B1|
|Application number||US 10/708,388|
|Publication date||Dec 4, 2007|
|Filing date||Feb 27, 2004|
|Priority date||Feb 27, 2003|
|Publication number||10708388, 708388, US 7303297 B1, US 7303297B1, US-B1-7303297, US7303297 B1, US7303297B1|
|Inventors||Keith D. Foote, James A. Ruse, Benjamin D. Newton, Kenneth C. Peterson|
|Original Assignee||Magna Donnelly Mirrors North America L.L.C.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (35), Referenced by (1), Classifications (4), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/319,979, filed Feb. 27, 2003, which is incorporated herein in its entirety.
The invention relates to an external vehicle mirror and, more particularly, to an external vehicle mirror having powered folding and powered extension functionality. In another aspect, the invention relates to an extendable vehicle mirror comprising a recirculating ball bearing assembly enabling both a close fit and slidability between a mirror support arm and an extendable mirror assembly. In another aspect, the invention relates to a folding vehicle mirror comprising a pivot assembly incorporating roller bearings enabling a close fit and pivotability between a mirror support arm and a pivot support base. In another aspect, the invention relates to a folding vehicle mirror comprising a pivot assembly incorporating parallel flanges slidably communicating with upper and lower opposed surfaces of a mirror support arm which is pivotably pinned to one of the flanges.
External mirrors are ubiquitous for contemporary vehicles and have long been used to aid the driver in operating the vehicle, especially in improving the rearward view of the driver. Over time, more and more functionality has been incorporated into the external mirrors. For example, it is common to pivot or fold the external mirror against the vehicle body to prevent the jarring of the mirror when the vehicle is not operated. The mirror folding function can incorporate a power assist, such as that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,684,646. External mirrors are also extendable away from the vehicle to increase the field of view, which is useful when towing a trailer. Mirrors incorporating both the powered fold and powered extension functionality are well-known. An example of such a mirror is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,213,609, assigned to the assignee of the current application, which is incorporated by reference.
The extension assembly typically comprises a support arm attached to the vehicle in cantilevered fashion which slidably communicates with a mating receptacle in a reflective element assembly. The support arm and the mating receptacle are typically provided with cooperative bearing surfaces suitable for the slidable movement between the support arm and the reflective element assembly. An extension actuator in the support arm drives the reflective element assembly along the support arm to selectively extend and retract the reflective element assembly.
In order to provide the operator with an adequate rearward view, particularly when the vehicle is used to tow a trailer, the rearview mirrors are typically large, relatively heavy assemblies. The large mirror size also contributes to large wind loads imposed on the reflective element assembly when the vehicle is in use. To facilitate the extension of the reflective element assembly along the support arm, the tolerances between the bearing surfaces must not be so close as to impede their slidable movement. Otherwise, a more robust actuator must be used to overcome the friction between the bearing surfaces, thereby adding weight to the mirror assembly, increasing cost, increasing power consumption, and reducing durability. On the other hand, greater tolerances between bearing surfaces can lead to unacceptable vibration of the mirror assembly, and the imposition of excessive forces on the support arm, which can contribute to premature failure of mirror components and adversely impact the performance of the extension mechanism. This is particularly significant with large mirrors supported on a cantilevered support arm.
If the mirror is also foldable, the pivot mechanism must also be capable of easily pivoting the support arm while providing adequate structural support to the cantilevered support arm and the weight of the supported reflective element assembly. Overly close tolerances between rotating bearing surfaces, while enhancing the structural strength of the pivot mechanism, can impede the relative movement of the pivot arm about its support base. However, greater tolerances can lead to vibration of the mirror assembly, and the imposition of excessive forces on the component parts, which can also contribute to premature failure of mirror components and adversely impact the performance of the folding mechanism.
In one aspect, the invention relates to a vehicular rearview mirror assembly, comprising: a base assembly comprising a base frame for mounting the rearview mirror assembly to a vehicle; a reflective element mounted to the base frame for providing an occupant of the vehicle with a rearward view; and a low friction bearing interposed between the base frame and the reflective element for facilitating movement of the reflective element relative to the base frame.
In another aspect, the invention relates to a vehicular rearview mirror assembly, comprising: a reflective element mounted to a mounting frame for providing an occupant of the vehicle with a rearward view; an extension arm mounted to a vehicle and moveably attached to the reflective element assembly; and a low friction bearing interposed between the mounting frame and the extension arm for facilitating movement of the reflective element relative to the extension arm.
In a further aspect, the invention relates to a vehicular rearview mirror assembly, comprising: a base assembly comprising a base frame for mounting the rearview mirror assembly to a vehicle; at least one support arm for supporting a reflective element and moveably connected to the base frame for selectively folding the reflective element against the vehicle and extending the reflective element away from the vehicle; and a low friction bearing interposed between the base frame and the at least one support arm for facilitating movement of the reflective element relative to the vehicle.
In yet another aspect, the invention relates to a vehicular rearview mirror assembly, comprising: a base assembly comprising a base frame for mounting the rearview mirror assembly to a vehicle; at least one support arm for supporting a reflective element and pivotably connected to the base frame for selectively folding the reflective element against the vehicle and extending the reflective element away from the vehicle; and a pair of parallel spaced-apart flanges, wherein the at least one support arm is interposed between the parallel flanges to form the pivot connection.
Various embodiments of the invention are also contemplated. For example, the low friction bearing can comprise a ball bearing. The low friction bearing can comprise a roller bearing. The reflective element can further comprise a mounting frame attached to the reflective element, and the base assembly can further comprise at least one arm moveably connected to the mounting frame, and the low friction bearing is interposed between the at least one arm and the mounting frame for facilitating the movement of the mounting frame relative to the base assembly. The base assembly can further comprise at least one arm moveably connected to the base frame and the low friction bearing is interposed between the at least one arm and the base frame for facilitating the movement of the at least one arm relative to the base frame.
The moveable connection can comprise a pivot connection, the base frame can comprise parallel spaced-apart flanges, and the at least one arm is interposed between the parallel flanges to form the pivot connection. The low friction bearing can be interposed between the at least one arm and the parallel flanges.
In the drawings:
Referring now to the figures, and particularly to
As shown in
As shown in
The front frame element 32 is a somewhat rectilinear piece adapted for mating communication with the rear frame element 30. When assembled, the front frame element 32 and the rear frame element 30 together define an elongated, rectilinear arm chamber 170. Preferably, the front frame element 32 and the rear frame element 30 are fabricated of a structural plastic having sufficient strength and rigidity for the purposes described herein.
Referring now to
A first arcuate wall 64 extends from the front sidewall 42 and transitions to a second arcuate wall 66 at the pivot end 38. The arcuate walls 64, 66 enclose an annular wall 68 depending orthogonally from the top wall 40 and, with the top wall 40, defining a cylindrical pivot actuator chamber 76. Extending radially outwardly from the arcuate wall 68 are a plurality of regularly-spaced radial ribs 74. The portion of the top wall 40 circumscribing the annular wall 68 comprises a plurality of mounting apertures 72 therethrough and a plurality of interspaced bosses 86 surrounding a pin aperture 62. Preferably, the extension arm 34 is fabricated of a structural plastic having sufficient strength and rigidity for the purposes described herein.
Referring specifically to
The upper bearing block 82 is an elongated, rectilinear member defining a truncated triangular channel 83 adapted for cooperative, slidable communication with the upper ball bearing race 50. The lower bearing block 84 is an elongated, rectilinear member identical to the upper bearing block 82 defining a truncated triangular channel 85 adapted for cooperative, slidable communication with the lower ball bearing race 56. The upper bearing block 82 is further adapted to be received in the upper bearing block chamber 172, and the lower bearing block 84 is adapted to be received in the lower bearing block chamber 174. The bearing blocks 82, 84 are fixedly retained in the bearing block chambers 172, 174 through a suitable attachment such as a snap-fit attachment, an adhesive, pins, or threaded fasteners. The upper ball bearing race 50, the lower ball bearing race 56, the upper bearing block 82, and the lower bearing block 84 are fabricated of a material having suitable strength and abrasion resistance for the purposes described herein, such as aluminum or a high strength plastic.
The extension arm 34 and the mounting frame 22 are adapted so that the cantilever end 36 can be inserted into the arm chamber 170 with the upper ball bearing race 50 in slidable communication with the upper bearing block channel 83 and the lower ball bearing race 56 in slidable communication with the lower bearing block channel 85. A conventional extension actuator 150, shown in
While the frictionless bearing assembly has been illustrated in
Referring now to
The rotating annular shell 94 comprises an annular shoulder 99 at an intermediate portion thereof, and terminates in an annular upper wall 88 provided with a plurality of regularly-spaced mounting apertures 96 therethrough. The upper wall 88 is castellated with a plurality of regularly-spaced slots 98, and comprises a pin aperture 100 extending coaxially therethrough. As shown in
An annular ramp 89 comprises an annular ring-like body adapted for slidable communication with the upper exterior of the rotating shell 94 and the upper interior of the base housing 92. A helical spring 87, such as a well-known wave spring, is adapted to encircle the upper exterior of the rotating shell 94 between the annular shoulder 99 and the annular ramp 89, as shown in
A frictionless bearing assembly is illustrated as comprising a roller bearing assembly 101, which comprises a ring race 102 and a ring block 118. The ring race 102 is an annular body comprising a circumferential conical face 108 and an annular face 110 defining a truncated cone. The conical face 108 is provided with a plurality of regularly-spaced roller bearing seats 104 adapted to seat a plurality of conventional roller bearings 106. The annular face 110 defines a base aperture 113 adapted to slidably receive the base portion 92 therethrough, and is provided with at least one inner slot 112 adapted to slidably communicate with the ring boss 114 to prevent rotation of the ring race 102 relative to the base portion 92. In the preferred embodiment, the roller bearings 106 are fabricated of high-strength structural plastichaving a high surface hardness, such as nylon, polyester, or PBT. It will be evident to a person of ordinary skill in the art that a ball bearing assembly can be utilized as an alternate frictionless bearing in place of the roller bearing assembly described herein.
The ring block 118 comprises an annular body having an inner annular wall 120 defining a base aperture 125 and transitioning to a conical face 124 at a lower portion thereof. The upper portion of the ring block 118 is castellated to define a plurality of regularly-spaced radial slots 122. The base aperture 125 is adapted to be slidably received over the annular wall 68 of the extension arm 34. The conical face 124 is adapted for cooperative juxtaposition with the conical face 108 and contact with the roller bearings 106. The radial slots 122 are adapted to slidably communicate with the radial ribs 74 so that the ring block 118 is urged to rotate with the extension arm 34.
Referring again to
The use of the frictionless ball bearing assemblies 51, 57 between the extension arm 34 and the mounting frame 22 enable the extension arm 34 and the mounting frame 22 to be tightly fit together while providing for slidable movement between the two parts. The enhanced slidability between the extension arm 34 and the mounting frame 22 enables a smaller, lighter extension actuator to be used. The close fit between the two parts reduces the potential for unwanted relative movement.
Similarly, the use of the frictionless roller bearing assembly 101 in the pivot assembly 20 enables a tight fit between the extension arm 34 and the base frame 26, while enabling unrestricted pivoting of the extension arm 34. The enhanced pivotability between the extension arm 34 and the base frame 26 enables a smaller, lighter pivot actuator to be used. The close fit between the two parts increases the strength of the pivot assembly 20 even when the mirror is fully extended, reduces the development of a precession-type movement of the pivot end 38 relative to the base frame 26, and reduces the potential for unwanted relative movement of the extension arm 34 as a result of torsional forces as well as static and dynamic loading. The use of the extension arm flange 140 in the pivot assembly 20 with the pivot pin 126 securing the extension arm 34 to the base frame 26 also strengthens the pivot assembly 20 and reduces the potential for unwanted relative movement between the extension arm 34 and the base frame 26. The use of the ball bearing assemblies 51, 57 also enables the use of closer tolerance components.
While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown, it will be understood, of course, that the invention is not limited thereto since modifications may be made by those skilled in the art, particularly in light of the foregoing teachings. Reasonable variation and modification are possible within the scope of the foregoing disclosure of the invention without departing from the spirit of the invention.
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|Jan 12, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MAGNA DONNELLY MIRRORS NORTH AMERICA L.L.C., MICHI
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FOOTE, KEITH D.;RUSE, JAMES A.;PETERSON, KENNETH C.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:017007/0658
Effective date: 20040227
|Oct 14, 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MAGNA MIRRORS OF AMERICA, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MAGNA DONNELLY MIRRORS NORTH AMERICA, LLC;REEL/FRAME:021679/0086
Effective date: 20080930
|May 4, 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|May 20, 2015||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8